I reclined back on the smooth leather bed and stared up at the beige walls and ceiling around me. I could feel the comforting fog of the four Klonopin I had taken beginning to envelop me in its warm embrace.
Traffic had brought on this bought of anxiety and uncertainty. It seemed that every light turned red as I crawled to it. Every car in front of me decided to drive extremely slow and then turn suddenly without using a turn signal. (Nothing drives me crazier. The lack of a turn signal. I can be on a deserted interstate, speeding along at 3 a.m., and I will still use my turn signal to take an exit. I don’t care if anyone is around to see it or not. I know I used it. I know I followed proper protocol.)
I was late for my appointment. The clock on the dashboard read 12:32. My appointment was for 12:30. It doesn’t really matter because I am never called on time. Even when I am called, I spend about five to ten minutes hanging out in a tiny beige room by myself waiting for the doctor to finish up with her previous patient.
That didn’t matter though. I had already taken three of the beautiful, pink pills before I pulled into the parking lot. Looking at the time, I popped another one before heading into the waiting room. I read my book for a few minutes until my name was called, and by then the calm had begun to wash over me. I relished in the sweet dream-like state that I felt while lying there on the chiropractor’s bed.
Sunshine yellow. Peachy coral. Bubblegum pink. I wish I had stashed away a handful of pills from each bottle since I had first had the prescription. I didn’t realize that the colors would someday change, and every time I opened the bottle to a new color, I was both disappointed and pleasantly delighted. Disappointed because I would never again see the color before, and delighted because a new color was like undertaking a new journey. What could be next? Baby blue? Seafoam green? Blood red? Oh, the anticipation. Just don’t be white.
I thought about what the rest of the day might bring. It didn’t matter. I was going to have my neck and back cracked, lie on that wonderful warm bed with water jets pounding against my back, and float away on clouds of Klonopin.
Nobody knows how frequently I rely on these little pink pills. How, if they aren’t with me, I feel that panic rising from my gut and lodging itself in my throat. I feel better knowing that they are just within reach. Being able to pour them into my hand, count them one-by-one, let them trickle through my fingers like grains of sand.
I hide my addiction. I think I do it well. Sometimes at dinner, I feign a headache. Too little water that day – must be dehydrated – my excuses. Reach into my bag – grasp between my stubby fingers a couple of my precious pills – toss them in my mouth and take a sip of my drink – swallow quickly. Bring my fingers to my forehead. Rub lightly and squint my eyes to make it seem more believable. Wait for the fog to descend.
I listen to the murmuring of the doctor and the patient next door. I can’t make out the conversation, but sometimes I can. It makes me self-conscious of my own conversations with my chiropractor when we are in the room alone together.
I stood up in my hazy fog and crossed the tiny room in three steps to stand in front of a small mirror which hung on the wall. I smoothed down my hair with my hands, paying extra attention to flatten my roots. About a quarter-inch of growth. I could probably go another couple of week before coloring my hair again. I heard my phone vibrate in my purse. I checked for a text message. Just a new weather alert. Rain.
I considered digging my book back out of my purse, but I hate when I’m reading something, and I’m really into it, and someone asks me what it’s about. It’s so hard to explain sometimes. I’m not a book reviewer. I don’t get paid to tell you what something is about and whether or not I would recommend it. I’m reading it. Isn’t that enough to know that I like it? Plus it’s awkward sometimes. I didn’t want to explain that the book I was currently reading involved a self-righteous writer who was gang raped in high school and was now trying to make her life “picture perfect”. What would people think?
I heard the door across the hall open and footsteps shuffling. My chart that hangs outside the door was picked up and was being reviewed. I re-crossed the few steps back to the bed and climbed back on, resting my hands behind my head as if I had been like that the entire time.
I heard the doorknob turn and the doctor entered.